The Pitt volleyball team recently earned the sixth seed and home-court advantage for the first two rounds of the 2019 NCAA tournament after going 29-1 in the regular season, and Panthers outside hitter Kayla Lund was one of the driving forces behind the team’s success. For her contributions, she was named the 2019 ACC Player of the Year on Monday. Lund is the first player in program history to win the honor.
”In a year of so many firsts for our program, Kayla becoming our first ACC Player of the Year is a tremendous honor,” Pitt head coach Dan Fisher said in a statement. “Her leadership and work ethic set a standard for our team, and it was no surprise to me that she earned this title. I am proud of her and look forward to watching her perform as we enter the NCAA tournament Friday at home.”
The native of Pasadena, California, leads Pitt in kills, with 363 on the year. And due in part to Lund, Pitt ranks fourth in the nation in kills per set, with 1,523 over 103 sets for an average of 14.8. In addition, Lund ranks second on the team in service aces, with 32, and digs, with 278. And in terms of her play relative to others in the ACC, she ranks among the top five in the conference in kills per set (3.59) and points per set (4.14) and top 10 in aces per set (0.31).
Lund also earned first-team All-ACC honors alongside teammates Chinaza Ndee and Layne Van Buskirk. Ndee ranks second on the team in kills, with 289, and blocks, with 103. Van Buskirk ranks fourth in kills, with 263, and third in blocks, with 94. Three more Panthers earned third-team All-ACC honors, as Lexis Akeo, Hali Hillegas and Stephanie Williams were all recognized, with Akeo also making the all-freshman team.
One surprise in Pitt's haul of postseason honors was that Akeo did not win ACC Freshman of the Year despite a breakout season. That honor instead went to Georgia Tech outside hitter Julia Bergmann. Georgia Tech also led the conference in first-team All-ACC honorees, with four, and saw Matti McKissock and Michelle Collier win Setter of the Year and Coach of the Year.